Mr. Franklin: A Selection from His Personal Letters

By Benjamin Franklin; Leonard W. Labaree et al. | Go to book overview

Young! But you, my Girl, when you arrive at Fifty, will think no more of being old, than does Your affectionate Uncle

B. Franklin

My Love to your good Mama, and to Suky, with my Thanks for her Care of you in your Illness. Tell her I now forgive her for selling her Good Luck.


TYPE FOR THE CONNOISSEUR

"ONCE a printer, always a printer" is a generalization to which there may be exceptions, but Franklin was not one of them. Although he retired from the active management of his printing office in 1747, signing a contract with his partner David Hall for a share of the profits for eighteen years, he never lost his interest and pride in the craft through which he had made his start in life. During his years in England and France he observed closely the developments in the printer's art and found opportunities to get to know the leading type designers and founders, paper makers, and printers in those countries. In France he established a small press of his own at his home in Passy and found occasional relaxation in setting type himself. His last will, written in 1788, opens proudly with the words: "I, Benjamin Franklin, of Philadelphia, printer."

William Caslon has been commonly regarded as the leading designer and founder of type in England in the eighteenth century. He was rivaled in his day only by John Baskerville, a younger man, whose edition of Virgil, published in 1757, produced something of a sensation and was admired by many connoisseurs, including Franklin. The more ardent devotees of Caslon, however, found much to criticize in Baskerville's types. Upon one such opinionated critic Franklin played a harmless but celebrated trick.

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Mr. Franklin: A Selection from His Personal Letters
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xiii
  • Brother and Sister 3
  • The Scientific Spirit 4
  • Family Report 6
  • A Whirlwind For Mr. Franklin 8
  • A Philosopher Looks At Death 10
  • A Lesson In Relativity 12
  • Type For The Connoisseur 13
  • An Optimist And His Enemies 15
  • Pater Familias 17
  • A Pen Has A Sharp Point 20
  • The Arts Move Westward 21
  • Conversation in a Coach 22
  • Prudential Algebra 25
  • A New Use For Madeira Wine 27
  • A Revolt Begins 29
  • How To Pay For A War 34
  • A Scientist Turns Politician 36
  • How To Recommend A Stranger 41
  • Twelve Commandments 42
  • Father Is Not Pleased 44
  • Money Talks 48
  • The Delightful Ladies Of France 50
  • Two Americans 52
  • Miss Virginia 53
  • What Good is a New-Born Baby? 55
  • Independence Has Its Responsibilities 59
  • Farewell 60
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